Fast, reliable and highly consistent. Esteban Ocon holds the qualities of a future champion. With his potential truly showing in his first two seasons with Force India, Ocon returned to the grid in 2020 with Renault. He went on to take his maiden Grand Prix victory with Alpine in 2021.
|Full Name||Esteban Ocon|
|Date of Birth||17th September 1996|
|First Race||2016 Belgain Grand Prix|
|First Win||2021 Hungarian Grand Prix|
Esteban Ocon was born in Évreux, Normandy, in 1996 to parents with Spanish origins. His father is a mechanic, who owns a garage in the Évreux area. It’s perhaps no surprise, then, that Ocon would pursue an interest in cars from an early age, beginning his karting career aged ten. In his début championship, in the French Minime series, he finished eighth, before securing the title in 2007. He went on to take the French Cadet Championship in the following year, and then spent three seasons in the KF3 category, winning the French title and eventually finishing runner-up in the WSK Euro Series in 2011.
In 2012, Ocon stepped up to single-seaters. Three podiums in Formula Renault 2.0 saw him finish fourteenth in the Eurocup series, and he stayed in the championship for a second year to finish third with two victories. A strong showing at the prestigious Macau Grand Prix led him to a drive with Prema in the FIA F3 Euro championship for 2014, where he convincingly won the title with nine wins and 21 podiums from 33 races. Having become a member of Lotus F1’s junior team in 2013, the Frechman made his first F1 weekend appearance with an outing in practice at the 2014 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
In 2015, he switched to the Mercedes young driver program, and had testing outings with Force India. Meanwhile, Ocon was was busy on track, this time in GP3. He won the 2015 title with ART, despite claiming just one victory over the course of the season. Mercedes loaned him to Renault as their reserve driver for the 2016 season, while he also competed in the first ten rounds of the 2016 DTM season.
In August 2016, it was announced that Ocon would join the Manor team for the remainder of the F1 season, taking the place of Rio Haryanto. He put in a series of consistent performances and finished a best of twelfth in a rain-hit Brazilian Grand Prix. In November 2016, Force India announced that he would be joining them for the 2017 season.
For many, Esteban Ocon was the positive surprise of the 2017 season. It was expected that the young Frenchman would be Force India’s number two to Sergio Perez, yet Ocon was more than a match for his vastly more experienced team-mate. Despite on-track tussles with the Mexican, Perez’s ruthless nature didn’t distract Ocon from the job at hand. He kept up his incredibly consistent finishing record until the Brazilian round of the championship, where he was taken out of the race on the first lap. Of the nineteen races he finished, Monaco was the only event where he failed to score a point. He started third on the grid in Monza, but despite coming close a number of times throughout the year, his quest for his first podium continues.
Ocon was replaced at Racing Point by Lance Stroll for 2019. He had signed a contract with Renault, but that was nullified when Daniel Ricciardo opted to join the French manufacturer. Instead, 2019 was a year on the sidelines for Ocon. Ahead of the 2019 Belgian Grand Prix, it was announced that he would join Ricciardo at Renault for the 2020 season.
OCON IN 2020
Esteban Ocon recorded Renault’s best result of the 2020 season, but his comeback year was perhaps not the triumphant return many expected. There were few highlights for the Frenchman in 2020, though the obvious standout moment was his podium finish at the Sakhir Grand Prix. After a year on the sidelines, Ocon out-qualified his team-mate on only two occasions in 2020 – at the wet Styrian Grand Prix and the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. In races which both Ocon and team-mate Daniel Ricciardo finished, Ocon was ahead in only three – the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, the Portuguese Grand Prix and the Sakhir Grand Prix.
The margins by which Ocon was out-qualified were not huge, and he set faster sector times than Ricciardo in 21 of this season’s 51 qualifying sectors. In 2021, Ocon faces Fernando Alonso as his new team-mate. Given the Spaniard’s strong qualifying record, and his ability to get the best results out of his cars, Ocon will need to up his game again in 2021. Read more: Esteban Ocon’s 2020 F1 Season In Stats.
ESTEBAN OCON’S F1 RECORD
|Year||Team||Final Position||Points Scored||Wins||Poles||Podiums|